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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Repair of split drawer bottom in an antique bureau.


A friend recently asked if I could repair a drawer from her son's bureau.  I took on the job sight unseen, and was surprised to discover the bureau had solid oak fronted drawers, with the balance made of poplar, with hand cut dovetails and obviously quite old. The drawer appears to be cypress or another very soft wood. I have no idea of the provenance of the piece, but based upon the age and workmanship I do not want to repair the drawer and diminish the value or alter the quality of workmanship.  The drawer bottom measures 3/8" of an inch thick, 15" deep and 24" wide.  The are three splits, one of which runs the complete width of the piece and two others that have progressed about half way across.

I have considered using biscuits for the repair but the 3/8" thickness of the soft wood has made me hesitate.  Is there a "proper" alternative method for accomplishing this repair?  I would appreciate your advice on the subject.

Hi Martin
Nice to hear from you.
You will in no way devalue this piece by repairing the drawer.
In fact its the best thing to do.
You are correct about the biscuits. The wood is too thin for that type of repair.
So remove the drawer bottom, glue and clamp.
Here is how I would do it. Hope my picture upload works.
Note that with wood this thin, you must not allow the wood to buckle as it will want to do.
So the "anti buckle sticks" (my own name LOL), prevent this.
They are clamped to your work table or they could be screwed down into your work bench (if its like mine).
Good Luck

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Eileen Cronk


I can answer most questions about the repairing and refinishing of all your old furniture items (the things we call antiques). I can also give you advice on what wood items to choose and what wood items to avoid at auctions, flea markets etc. I DO NOT give appraisals on antiques as this is not my field of expertise.


I have been repairing, refinishing and of course buying old furniture for the past 30 years. On any given weekend I can be found at auction sales or flea markets searching out a good buy. I have taken several courses in this area over the years, but I find "Hands On" learning to be the best teacher. I can help you avoid the pitfalls and problems of this wonderful rewarding craft.

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